February 10, 2019

I Will Let Down the Nets


 

As We Gather:

Every week when we gather together in church, at some point a pastor stands up and speaks. He preaches. He delivers a sermon. In popular culture the words "sermon" and "preach" have negative connotations. "Don't preach at me," we hear. "Sermon" is almost shorthand for "long, dry, boring talk." Yet, here in church, week after week, a pastor speaks. Why? Because one of the Means by which what God has done for us in Jesus is delivered by spoken words - and not just any words, but the Gospel, the Good News of what God has done for us in and through Jesus. In the Old Testament Reading, God calls Isaiah in a spectacular vision and touches his lips with a hot coal to commission him to speak the Lord's Word. In the Holy Gospel, Jesus calls Peter, and one part of his calling will be to speak the Gospel. Just as the Lord spoke and creation came into being, so it is even now by words that salvation in Christ comes to the world. Today we give thanks that God is not silent, but speaks to us by His Word. And one of the ways He speaks is through a pastor's proclamation of the Gospel.

 

Old Testament Reading:

Isaiah 6:1-8

(Isaiah's vision of the seraphim.)

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for." And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here I am! Send me."

 

Epistle Reading:

1 Corinthians 14:12b-20

(Excel in gifts that build up the Church.)

Strive to excel in building up the church. Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. "What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say "Amen" to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.

 

Gospel Reading:

Luke 5:1-11

(The miraculous catch of fish.)

On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simons, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets." And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

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